John Lilburne's journal about Apple computer and home movies.

 

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0929 L Wed 9 Jan 2002

My father bought the first Macintosh model in 1984, when I was about18. Since then I have bought three Macs and generally been interested in Apple Computer. My enthusiasm was probably greatest around 1989, I think that was before Windows and the Mac had Microsoft Excel. I remember reading John Sculley's book "Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple" that year.

Part of me is cautious about the hype and part of me says personal computers are changing the world and Apple is a leader in this. Yesterday at the library I read Australian Macworld January 2002 edition, which had an article by Alex Rieneck with the heading "Low-budget dreams". Here are some extracts:

Sure, few of us have the kind of iron that produced Toy Story 2 ... set up in their spare bedrooms. But with advancements in processor technology, it will probably only be a matter of years before the average home user is actually capable of making any film that takes their fancy. ...

He talks about the movie industry having started as a monopoly of Thomas Edison and then other monopolies.

Functionally though, the "shared dreams" that created the "spirit" of Western civilisation in the twentieth century have been subsidiaries of multinational corporations who, with remarkable levels of success, controlled exactly the messages that were deemed suitable for mass consumption. The ownership of a highly popular medium effectively formed the minds and attitudes of several generations. People learnt the "correct" way to behave, what to desire, what to buy and simply how to exist, from movies. The result was a McDonald's in every city on Earth, and the concept "Luke Skywalker" in every known language, and a few new ones. The result was indistinguishable from the effects of any large and successful religion that one could care to name.

He sees this fragmenting due to the variety of information available. I thought this was an interesting point: "As far as current events goes, the rule is that if a person watches a lot of television, they think the world is reasonably OK. If they read and surf the net, they are quite paranoid and ideologically adrift."

I think he is exaggerating to make the point. Making a blockbuster will still require lots of expensive artists. But perhaps there will be less interest in the blockbuster.

Today both The Age and The Australian newspapers have photos of Steve Jobs with the newly designed iMac which has a flat screen and small base. Here is an extract from Garry Barker article in The Age:

Apple's advantage is that it makes what Mr Jobs calls the whole widget -- computer, operating system and programs such as iMovie, iTunes, iDVD and now iPhoto, most of which it gives away, allowing it to lead as an innovator without baffling users.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne 9 January 2002.

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